Raukaua simplex


Raukaua: From the Maori name for R. edgerleyi, raukawa
simplex: simple, not compound

Common Name(s)


Current Conservation Status

2012 - Not Threatened

Conservation status of New Zealand indigenous vascular plants, 2012
The conservation status of all known New Zealand vascular plant taxa at the rank of species and below were reassessed in 2012 using the New Zealand Threat Classification System (NZTCS). This report includes a statistical summary and brief notes on changes since 2009 and replaces all previous NZTCS lists for vascular plants. Authors: Peter J. de Lange, Jeremy R. Rolfe, Paul D. Champion, Shannel P. Courtney, Peter B. Heenan, John W. Barkla, Ewen K. Cameron, David A. Norton and Rodney A. Hitchmough. File size: 792KB

Previous Conservation Status

2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened


Raukaua simplex (G.Forst.) A.D.Mitch., Frodin et Heads



Brief Description

Small tree with different adult (single) and juvenile (trifoliate) toothed leaves on long red stalks and flattened fruit in small clusters

Flora Category

Vascular - Native

NVS Species Code


The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.

Structural Class

Dicotyledonous Trees & Shrubs


Pseudopanax simplex (G.Forst.) Philipson; Panax simplex G.Forst.; Nothopanax simplex (G.Forst.) Seem; Neopanax simplex (G.Forst) Allan


Endemic. North, South, Stewart and Aucklands Islands. From Te Moehau (Coromandel) south


Lowland to montane forest and also shrubland at tree line. Near seal level to 1400 m a.s.l.


Monoecious. Small much branched tree to 8 m tall; all parts glabrous; bark whiteish grey,branchlets non-fleshy. Leaves alternate; stipules absent. Seedling leaves unifoliate, becoming 3-5-foliate in juvenile stage and then 1-3-foliate in adult. Juvenile leaves sessile or subsessile, 4-15 cm long, narrowly oblong to elliptic, deeply lobed to pinnatifid, lobes acute to obtuse; petioles to 10 cm long. Later juvenile leaves shorter, 5-8 cm long, elliptic to obovate-oblong to lanceolate, acute or obtuse, margins sharply to bluntly serrate, petioles to 6 cm long. Adult leaves usually unifoliate, but trifoliate leaves common, 5-10 x 1.5-4 cm, coriaceous, dark green above, paler below, variously shaped from lanceolate to obovate-oblong, sharply serrate, tip acuminate to acute to obtuse, veins obvious, raised; petiole 3-8 cm long, reddish, non-clasping, terminating in small node in unifoliate leaves. Inflorescence axillary, a compound raceme. Umbellule 5-15 flowered; rays short. Flowers small, green; calyx minutely 5-toothed; ovary 2-loculed, each with 1 ovule; style branches 2, free at tips, stronly curved, connate; stamens 5, projecting, </= petals. Fruit fleshy, 3-4 mm wide, laterally compressed, green ripening to mottled white cream or purple; style bases retained on apical disc. Seeds 2 per fruit, broadly ovate, straight along ventral edge, surface even, 2.2-3.1 mm long.

Similar Taxa

Vegetatively similar to some other Pseudopanax species and Raukaua edgerleyi. The unifoliate leaves with a small node at the distal end of the petiole is distinctive, but trioliate specimens can be difficult to distinguish from other species unless flowering or fruiting. The sharply lobed juvenile leaves are distinctive except from Raukaua edgeleyi and Schefflera digitata. R. edgerleyi can be distinguished from R. simplex by its aromatic crushed leaves.



Flower Colours





Not Threatened

Chromosome No.

2n = 24

Endemic Taxon


Endemic Genus


Endemic Family


Where To Buy

Occasionally available from specialist native plant nurseries.

Notes on taxonomy

Recently Frodin & Govaerts (2003) transferred the Chilean species Pseudopanax laetevirens (Miq.) Ball and Tasmanian P. gunnii (Hook.f.) K.Koch to Raukaua. See Frodin, D.G.; Govaerts, R. 2003: World Checklist and Bibliography of Araliaceae, The Cromwell Press, European Union.

Raukaua simplex var. sinclairii (Hook.f.) A.D.Mitchell, D.Frodin et M.Heads is the name given to specimens in the North Island that retain trifoliate leaves as an adult. The distinctiveness of this variety needs further consideration.


Description adapted from Mitchell (2005), Mitchell et al (1997), Eagle (2000) and Webb and Simpson (2001).

References and further reading

Moorfield, J. C. (2005). Te aka : Maori-English, English-Maori dictionary and index.  Pearson Longman:  Auckland, N.Z.

Mitchell, A.D, Frodin, D.G, Heads, M.J. 1997. Reinstatement of Raukaua, a genus of the Araliaceae centred on New Zealand. NZ J. Botany 305: 309-315;

Eagle, A. 2000. Eagle's complete trees and shrubs of NZ. Te Papa Press, Wellington;

Webb, C.J. &  Simpson, M.J.A. 2001. Seeds of NZ gymnosperms and dicotyledons. Manuka Press, Christchurch.

This page last updated on 20 May 2019